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PHOTO OF THE MONTH
Tongue of the Komodo Dragon, Indonesia

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Biodiversity: A Celebration of Nature

We live in a world where the species extinction rate is higher than it has ever been. Each day, we irrevocably lose some of the natural beauty around us. What can we, as humans and as travellers, do to value biodiversity and conserve it for the future? In honour of Earth Day on April 22, we’ve examined the theme of biodiversity and travel.

The Travel Word team has picked our Top Five Ways to Experience Biodiversity Hotspots while showing respect for the fragile flora and fauna. We’ve learned about Eco Etiquette for Travelling in the Galapagos. We’ve featured the rich biodiversity of other hotspot destinations, marvelling at Brilliant Butterflies in the Kingdom of Bhutan, exploring the Last Ecological Frontier of Palawan, Philippines and taking the train through the Coastal Ecosystems of Paraná, Brazil. We've considered the Benefits of Ecotourism for Children. Now it’s up to you: How can you be part of the solution to species extinction rather than part of the problem?

In our monthly Inside Word, we zoomed in on Quito, Ecuador through the eyes of our expert local partners. In an interview with our local partners in Vanuatu, we’ve heard an eloquent expression of local travel values.

This Earth Day, take a moment to browse April’s articles. Ponder the inherent beauty of biodiversity. Seize opportunities to explore it firsthand. As always, handle with care.

Cynthia Ord

Editor, The Travel Word newsletter

Brazil, Estonia, Laos, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, animal conservation, forests & jungles, responsible travel, waterfalls

Top Five Ways to Experience Biodiversity Hotspots

WHL GROUP 8 April 2011

Biodiversity – the variety of life in a particular ecosystem – is a precious thing, inherently. In species-rich environments, the awe-inspiring intricacies of our planet’s long bio-evolutionary history can be found in full flower, growl, flutter, slither and bubble. It is truly an amazing thing to behold. We encourage travellers to explore these biological treasure troves, but to do so responsibly.

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Brazil, South America, adventure travel, forests & jungles, local knowledge, outdoors, personal experience, responsible travel, mountains

One of the World’s Most Important Coastal Ecosystems: Paraná, Brazil

Guilherme Mendes Thomaz 7 April 2011

Curitiba, the capital of the Brazilian state of Paraná, is the biggest city in Southern Brazil. Despite its size, it is considered by some people to be an ‘unknown’ destination. Most travellers also do not even imagine the exuberant flora and fauna found in the city and its surrounding areas, especially the wonderful islands on Paraná’s coastline.

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Asia, Bhutan, South-Central Asia, adventure travel, animal conservation, ecotours, forests & jungles, outdoors, responsible travel

Brilliant Butterflies in the Kingdom of Bhutan

Cynthia Ord 4 April 2011

Among many other things, Bhutan is a fabled haven for butterflies. There are between 90 and 120 species of butterfly in Bhutan; approximately 28 of these are endemic to the eastern Himalayas. For lepidopterists, little can rival the enchantment of a flittering butterfly rising and falling among the lush plant life of Bhutan.

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Melanesia, Oceania, Vanuatu, beaches, interview, islands, local knowledge, opinion, women

Who’s Who in Vanuatu: An Interview with a Local Travel Expert

WHL Group 30 March 2011

Silvana Nicholls and her husband, John Nicholls, were some of the earliest local partners to join the whl.travel family. They launched their Vanuatu destination portal in November of 2005 and have been strong collaborators ever since.

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Asia, Philippines, South-Eastern Asia, ecotours, national parks, oceans & reefs, personal experience, responsible travel, world heritage

Palawan: The Last Ecological Frontier of the Philippines

John Paul Maclang 29 March 2011

The province of Palawan is a spectacular untamed region found on the western fringes of the Philippine Archipelago. Almost nowhere else can one simultaneously encounter two such intriguing, dynamic and diverse habitats as reefs and tropical rainforests. Palawan is truly one of the best examples of a species-rich, biologically diverse ecosystem

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Ecuador, South America, animal conservation, birds, ecotours, local knowledge, national parks, traveller tale, personal experience

Eco Etiquette on The Enchanted Islands: Stepping Right on the Galapagos

Heather Rath 23 March 2011

“Watch where you’re stepping!” says our naturalist guide, Nikolas. I flinch. Slowly but surely I am learning the proper rules of etiquette in the Galápagos National Park and Marine Reserve as we carefully wind our way along narrow trails, some of them treacherous and slippery from water and shards of hard lava.

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children, ecotours, forests & jungles, human interests, local knowledge, opinion, outdoors, responsible travel

How Children Benefit from an Ecotourism Experience

Irene Lane 11 April 2011

Just because you are going on a family vacation doesn’t mean that learning should take a break too. Ecotourism is full of what educators call teachable moments or, more definitively, unplanned opportunities to explain a concept that has unintentionally captured a child’s interest.

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  ...on Quito, Ecuador